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New barbecue opening in Mountain View


John S.
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Uncle Frank's barbecue, formerly of East Palo Alto, CA, relocated to the back of a bar in Mountain View, CA on January 1, 2005. The city hit him with so many unexpected requirements that he is opening only now.

Some things were his choice like making an outdoor eating place, making the place open to minors (previously it wasn't because to get into it customers had to go throught the bar). He also had to modify his smoker. He does not compromise, and I do not yet understand what he did to build a new smoker to satisfy the city, but he did it. He still uses his old smoker in East Palo Alto to do catering.

Uncle Frank's (he learned BBQ in Louisiana) was one of five BBQ restaurants mentioned in the June 2005 issue of Sunset magazine. That's how I found him. But unbeknownst to me, he had already been doing business in EPA for 30 years. So I went there about ten times between June last year to December last year. His brisket has a wide smoke ring. The chicken breasts are extremely juicy. And the ribs are great. I was born and grew up in San Jose. I know all the BBQ joints. His is best.

He is open today 8/01/2005 for testing only. (Hmmmm, I think I will show up). Then tomorrow for business as usual. Listen to his message: 650. 964.4476.

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I've heard very good things about Uncle Frank, and have been awaiting for it to reopen to finally give it a try. Thanks for the update. The other BBQ place in the Peninsula on my list of restaurants to try is Jimmy's Rib Shack in San Bruno. In the past, I've gone to Everett & Jones in the East Bay for BBQ, and I really enjoyed it (I've only been to the Berkeley location).

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Uncle Frank's is at 2135 Old Middlefield Way, Mountain View.

Quickest way to get there is get off 101 on Rengstorff, head west, 2 lights later on Old Middlefield, turn right.

I have heard wonderful things about Uncle Frank's too. Heading there this weekend :-9

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Inspired by the excellent mentions here I visited Uncle Frank’s about 5:30PM yesterday. The place was not yet fully open for business (construction was still underway). Seeing no obvious direct entrance (an "Uncle Frank’s" sign was visible on the ground, at the rear, piled with some supplies) I wandered into the dark bar, where someone saw my confused look and said with a routine tone, "The Barbecue is that way, to the rear." There I found Uncle Frank and personnel, busy amid dining tables strewn with construction supplies and paperwork. Though obviously busy, they were very welcoming and the kitchen was sort of operating. When I mentioned knowing of the place via Internet, Uncle Frank's younger associate was eager to take down the site name. I spelled out E-G-U-L-L-E-T-dot-O-R-G, California forum.

Uncle Frank told me of his experience, first cooking barbecue in the South when he was young, then opening locally and cooking breakfasts which was a lot of work for low checks, then discovering the lively market for barbecue in the area and abandoning the breakfast business. Amid banter about Special Accommodations for Internet Customers, $20 and change set me up with a semi-infinite take-out supply of assorted hot smoked meats (with a sampler while I waited). These came with a thick, raisiny sauce and smoked fresh corn on the cob (potato salad as alternative). Rich, wood smoke flavor in both the meats (which were indeed tender) and corn. Very cordial and accommodating folks, obviously fired up with their new business location. Uncle F opined that final work should be finished next week if all goes as planned.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Wow, sounds tasty. Looking forward to giving it a try. Where in Mountain View is he located?

I am so sorry I never followed up on replies. He is at 2135 Old Middlefield Way. From 101, turn south on Rengstorrf, then west (right) on Old Middlefield, ywo lights away. He is a block down on the left.

He has some reporters coming tomorrow (8/30) then in a few weeks he will have a grand opening. I will try to scan and post his new menu tomorrow. It includes many sides (blackeyed peas, collard greens, potato salad, baked beans, cole slaw, french fries, seasoned fries and corn bread). Also sometimes candied yams. His meat is ribs, chicken, brisket, beef sausages ("Louisina style links"). He makes desert (peach cobbler, sweet potato pie), great sauce (mild and "spicy" [i bring my own chile to add to it....]), catfish, prawns and chicken wings.

He was featured in Sunset Magazine (The West's Best BBQ" ) (June 2004 I think).

John S.

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I've heard very good things about Uncle Frank, and have been awaiting for it to reopen to finally give it a try.  Thanks for the update.  The other BBQ place in the Peninsula on my list of restaurants to try is Jimmy's Rib Shack in San Bruno.  In the past, I've gone to Everett & Jones in the East Bay for BBQ, and I really enjoyed it (I've only been to the Berkeley location).

Thanks for the info. Always a BBQ enthusiast, I will try Jimmy's. I never heard of E & J's, so will do that one too. I just have to compare!

John S.

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Uncle Frank's is at 2135 Old Middlefield Way, Mountain View.

Quickest way to get there is get off 101 on Rengstorff, head west, 2 lights later on Old Middlefield, turn right.

I have heard wonderful things about Uncle Frank's too. Heading there this weekend :-9

Hey alycemoy, hope to see you and the previous post there. He's great.

John S.

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Inspired by the excellent mentions here I visited Uncle Frank’s about 5:30PM yesterday.  The place was not yet fully open for business (construction was still underway).  Seeing no obvious direct entrance (an "Uncle Frank’s" sign was visible on the ground, at the rear, piled with some supplies) I wandered into the dark bar, where someone saw my confused look and said with a routine tone, "The Barbecue is that way, to the rear."  There I found Uncle Frank and personnel, busy amid dining tables strewn with construction supplies and paperwork.  Though obviously busy, they were very welcoming and the kitchen was sort of operating.  When I mentioned knowing of the place via Internet, Uncle Frank's younger associate was eager to take down the site name.  I spelled out E-G-U-L-L-E-T-dot-O-R-G, California forum. 

Uncle Frank told me of his experience, first cooking barbecue in the South when he was young, then opening locally and cooking breakfasts which was a lot of work for low checks, then discovering the lively market for barbecue in the area and abandoning the breakfast business.  Amid banter about Special Accommodations for Internet Customers, $20 and change set me up with a semi-infinite take-out supply of assorted hot smoked meats (with a sampler while I waited).  These came with a thick, raisiny sauce and smoked fresh corn on the cob (potato salad as alternative).  Rich, wood smoke flavor in both the meats (which were indeed tender) and corn.  Very cordial and accommodating folks, obviously fired up with their new business location.  Uncle F opined that final work should be finished next week if all goes as planned.

Max H. :

Thanks for the post. I'm glad there are some south bay members who like BBQ. I never followed up my original post, and I'm sorry this is late. You are right, he still is in the back of Francesca's bar with no sign of his own. Since then, I brought twelve friends there for a "party" of thirteen, as Frank would say. I knew him from EPA and he asked me: "how do you want me to do it: individual or just bring it out?" I said that peoiple would want to have different things. so maybe separate checks would be appropriate. He readily agreed. Then, after talking to my friends, they wanted "it all". So I told Frank, just bring it out!. Plate after plate kept coming.

He brought out all four meats by the platter, plus five or six sides. He kept it coming until we were full. We had to buy the drinks because he still has no license there for alcohol, and has no drinks. Children will be welcomed soon, after he wins his disagreement with a neighbor. Awesome experience.

For the record, as of 8/29, he still has some work to do. His "Grand Opening" is in 5 or 6 weeks. The evening entertainment will start about then (I could care less). His signage should be ready by then too. Let me know by e-mail if you want to join me for linch or dinner there. Groups are great.

John S.

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  • 2 weeks later...

the most amazing brisket!

i'm not from the south, so i can't say how authentic, but so incredibly smokey and tender!

the chicken wasn't bad, and the ribs we also amazing.

next up is are the links

if you haven't tried, i highly suggest people go and eat!

can't wait to go again!

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Took some coworkers to the original Uncle Frank's in EPA. Great stuff, though I had to endure some pretty lame cracks from some of the crew about getting their tires stolen and so on. Hopefully the new location will persuade more folks to try his 'cue. I'm also a huge fan of the more gentrified 'cue at Memphis Minnie's in the city, in part because it was closer to my old house than Brother-in-Law's.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm adding this to the existing Uncle Frank's thread, for continuity.

John S. posted a separate note about an SJ Mercury News article on Uncle Frank's. Note also that an earlier and much larger article, linked below, was the cover story in the entertainment tabloid Metro (Sept. 28), Uncle Frank's likeness beaming from its cover for a week throughout silicon valley. Story by the capable Stett Holbrook who has written some penetrating food articles in that paper. (Cover title "BBQ: The Taste of America.")* It details Frank Bell's history and childhood near the Louisiana-Texas border, the restaurant's move from East PA, the obstacles, the eternal "just two more weeks" to official opening. Holbrook seems to know a little about regional US BBQ styles also, locating Frank's in regional context. (It's true that if you compare the vinegar-based chopped-pork BBQ of the Carolinas for instance, you might see little connection to the tomato-sauced briskets elsewhere.)

http://www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/09...uncle-0539.html

Recently in the local newsgroup ba.food there was a mention of Uncle Frank's running out of supplies and closing for the weekend. Seems like word is out.

* Holbrook, I have to ask in case you see this -- since you did ack reading eGullet, in another article p. 43 of the same issue -- whether the subtitle on the Sept. 28 Uncle Frank cover story alluded to the Hesses' provocative 1970s book The Taste of America.

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  • 9 months later...

Hi everyone,

I thought it would be more polite to add to an existing thread rather than open another one....

Basically, I am staying in Milpitas (near San Jose/Santa Clara), and am looking for ONE barbecue joint to try. Keep in mind that I have never eaten barbecue before (I am from Australia, and our idea of barbecue is entirely different - to us, barbecue is both the tool used to grill food, as well as the event itself, and we don't smoke stuff).

So, does someone by any chance have a place that is nearby that I can try? I would look up the yellowpages and just pick one, but I don't want to have a bad first experience as I feel there it is something that could truly blow me away.

I have searched, but came up with too many possibilities, so I am hoping that some of you have been to some of these places more recently so I can get an updated opinion.

Thanks!

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... Keep in mind that I have never eaten barbecue before (I am from Australia, and our idea of barbecue is entirely different - to us, barbecue is both the tool used to grill food, as well as the event itself, and we don't smoke stuff).
So too in the US. The word is ambiguous. (There's even argument about the words grill vs. barbecue for the equipment.) BBQ gets used to describe the tool, the food, or a dinner party based on either (usually outdoors).

And styles and flavorings of "barbecued" meat vary greatly within the US. Texas is known for certain styles, Kansas City for others. (Connoisseurs will talk your ear off.) Pervading North Carolina is a chipped, vinegary style of "barbecued" pork, delicious when done well, but unrecognizable to people who assume that "babecue" must have tomato sauce or obvious smoking. It looks more like the Austrian specialty beuschel (made from beef lungs) than anything else I can think of. Uncle Frank's comes from a couple of far-south states and is none of the above.

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Dammit! I just got there, spoke to Frank and was told they were closed on sundays :(. Oh well, gives me something to look forward to for dinner.

Having looked at the menu, I think I will be in for a treat!

Thanks for the info MaxH - very interesting!

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